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Shibuya Punk is an aesthetic based on various media that surrounds inline-skating, graffiti, street gangs, or all of the following in a contemporary or near-future urban setting. It largely overlaps with the Y2K Futurism aesthetic.


The style originated with a year 2000 Sega Dreamcast game known as Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio in some areas), which was praised for its distinct art direction at the time, even pioneering the use of cel-shaded graphics in video games as a whole. However, its roots took shape much earlier with SEGA games like Crazy Taxi and Space Channel 5, which experimented with the traditional formula in gaming at the time.

Jet Set Radio gained a cult-following, and both it and its 2002 sequel, Jet Set Radio Future, would have its style, art and music as an influence or inspiration for indie titles in the late 2010s and early 2020s. These games include, but are not limited to; Lethal League and Lethal League Blaze, Hover, No Straight Roads, Butterflies, and many more. These games furthered the style that is known today as Shibuya Punk.

Another game that may have inspired the style is The World Ends With You, released in 2007 on the Nintendo DS. Much like Jet Set Radio, the game was praised for its stylish presentation, including its angular, occasionally surreal art style courtesy of Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi; music inspired by Hip-Hop, Rock, and Electronica; and focus on Japanese street culture, fashion trends, and even cuisine.

An anime known as Air Gear debuted in the 2000's, which also features roller-skating gangs, and some music was provided by Hideki Naganuma, the composer for Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future.

Tying in with Japanese Turn of the Millennium graphic design and speculative Cyberpunk, Shibuya Punk's namesake also stems from the real life Tokyo Metropolis ward of Shibuya. Long considered both a place of pass-by's and youth culture, Tokyo residents consider Shibuya the "crossroads" or "heart of Tokyo." Shibuya is considered the most socially interactive and trendsetting neighborhood in Tokyo, being known to be where residents throughout Tokyo crossover and mingle on its bustling streets. The juxtaposition of various lifestyles, fashion trends, music, and visual art means making waves in Shibuya eventually catches on everywhere else, and helps add to the character of Shibuya itself. However, Shibuya Punk is also representative of other places within Tokyo, such as the neon-drenched red-light districts of Shinjuku and the Otaku-influencing style of Akihabara.

In the late-2000's, the style began to fall out of fashion, being slowly replaced by Superflat Pop, which has similar motifs but is inspired by the works of Takashi Murakami. However, in the mid-2010s, the release of Splatoon on the Nintendo Wii U, and its sequels, reinvigorated the interest in the self-expression, music, and art key to the Shibuya Punk style. The resurgence in interest of games similar to Jet Set Radio and the many titles inspired by it persists to present day, bolstered further by the release of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk and announcement of a new Jet Set Radio title in late 2023.

Video Games[]

  • Dance Dance Revolution series (1998-present)
  • Crazy Taxi (1999)
  • Space Channel 5 (1999)
  • Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio (2000)
  • Jet Set Radio Future (2002)
  • Space Channel 5: Part 2 (2002)
  • Ollie King (2004)
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission (2004)
  • Sonic Rush (2005)
  • The World Ends with You (2007)
  • Sonic Rush Adventure (2007)
  • Lethal League (2014)
  • Sunset Overdrive (2014)
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (2015)
  • Splatoon series (2015-present)
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory (2017)
  • Hover: Revolt of Gamers (2017)
  • Lethal League Blaze (2018)
  • ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove (2019)
  • No Straight Roads (2020)
  • Sludge Life (2020)
  • NEO: The World Ends With You (2021)
  • FreeJack Online (2021)
  • OlliOlli World (2022)
  • Hi-Fi Rush (2023)
  • Butterflies (2023)
  • Bomb Rush Cyberfunk (2023)
  • Lock-N-Load (TBA, project by Dinosaur Games)
  • Jamphibian (TBA)
  • Sonic Storm (TBA)
  • Untitled Jet Set Radio Revival (TBA)

Anime and Manga[]

  • Air Gear (2002-2012)
  • Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2018)
  • SK8 the Infinity (2021)


The music for the aesthetic is varied and unique, ranging from aggressive and in-your-face to relaxed and chill. The most notable genres are Shibuya-kei and "Naganuma-kei", a term coined by Sashko Naganuma (check video description), describing a type of music made by famous video-game music composer Hideki Naganuma and fans of him. Naganuma-kei is an upbeat, catchy genre that takes inspiration from J-pop, Hip-Hop, Funk, EDM, Rock, Acid Jazz, Trip-Hop, Metal, Downtempo, Drum & Bass, Jungle, Big Beat, Chiptune, and many other genres based in, or influenced by, the Y2K Futurism era of the late 90s/early 2000s. Most Shibuya Punk music relies on heavy use of vocal and musical samples, sound effects, and jingles that have been altered in bizarre and innovative ways—often cut, rearranged, chopped, screwed, and sped up beyond recognition.

Underground and lesser-known alternative music are key staples of the aesthetic in general, however the most recently known musicians fitting the aesthetic are Porter Robinson and 2 Mello. Additionally, many bands and artists who released music under the Beastie Boys' now-defunct record label, "Grand Royal," such as Scapegoat Wax and The Latch Brothers, fit the aesthetic's eccentric, rebellious feeling. Notably, several Future Funk artists featured in the Lethal League games and Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, such as AAron EVO, SKALP, and Otis McDonald originally had their music included in the Dutch electronic music compliations, MORE BOUNCE presents: Feeding U New Knocks, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, by Amsterdam-based indie record label Wicked Wax. These artists give Shibuya Punk music another groovy dimension, steeped in bouncy 1970s and 80s boogie-funk from the Dutch House scene.

Music Theory[]

As genre, Shibuya Punk revolves around the core idea of sampling, utilizing drum loops from other genres like breakbeat, funk, and hip hop, and are chopped and/or layered onto one another. Chord progressions often stay simplistic throughout the song, but vary slightly during the chorus. In Sneakman by Hideki Naganuma, the key doesn't move from the tonic key of A minor until about 30 seconds into the song, only then does it elaborate to i-iii-iv-viii. In Like It Like This Like That, it stays in the tonic key of B♭ major throughout the entire song, with the only variation being the dominant V chord at the last bar of each measure, making for an incredibly basic, yet catchy I-V progression. Similar to old school house music, chord progressions usually stay in a certain major or minor chord due to stabs and hits being hard wired to be a certain chord, and usually in 5ths or 4ths, but sometimes go into 7ths or even 9ths.

Another thing to note about Hideki's writing style is his extensive use of stutters, repetition, 5th chords, and quarter triplet notes. If you listen to some of his songs (such as Funky Dealer, Sneakman, and Let Mom Sleep), there's a common pattern involving 3 notes that are specifically pronounced when they play. He also repeats and stutters patterns to keep the song engaging and to give it that DJ feel.

Instrumentation is widely varied, but is rarely ever played with real instruments, instead opting for samples and loops. The only songs that uses MIDI playback are the tracks JACK DA FUNK and GET ENUF from the Bomb Rush Cyberfunk OST, where Hideki opted to use a Roland Jupiter-8 synth plugin. For the bass, instruments such as slap bass loops or synth/acid sequences are used to create a sort of droning or repetition effect that follow the drums. Orchestra hits/stabs, distorted guitars, organs, trumpets, saxophones, and synthesized sequences are often used, being pitched and chopped to create a melody. Vocals are either voice clips from sample CDs or from vintage clips such as movies or speeches, and punchy adlibs such as "uh" or "yeah".

All of the compositions by both Hideki Naganuma and Richard Jacques for Jet Set Radio & Future use samples from CDs published during the 90's. SEGA provided their musicians with an arsenal of CDs such as Zero-G Datafile 1, 2 and 3, Ueberschall Big Beat, Big Fish Audio Big Beat Megaton Bomb vol. 4, Norman Cook - Skip To My Loops, X-Static Goldmine: Disc 2, and many more.


  • 2 Mello
  • AAron EVO
  • Akakage
  • Amin Payne
  • Azteka
  • B.B. Rights
  • B. Bravo
  • Bad Religion
  • BananaLizard
  • Basement Jaxx
  • Beastie Boys (Including The Latch Brothers and BS2000 side projects)
  • bignic
  • Bis
  • Bran Van 3000
  • Castle Logical
  • Cédric Menendez
  • Charodey Jeddy
  • Cibo Matto
  • Cody Vondell
  • Cody Wright
  • Cold
  • Color Plus
  • Copter4016882
  • Cornelius
  • CubeNatural
  • Cxldr3
  • Cyber Milk Chan
  • Cymbals
  • Daniel Crawford
  • Darling's Domain (formerly BonafideBloom)
  • Date of Birth
  • daypeecone
  • Deavid Soul
  • Def Cut
  • Deltron 3030
  • D Fast
  • DJ Chidow
  • DJ Kychu
  • DJ Lean Rock
  • Doctor Lazer
  • Dom McLennon
  • duuzu
  • E. Live
  • elektricPunk
  • Ethan Goldhammer/Flamclap
  • Erik Rico
  • F-Fields
  • Fantastic Plastic Machine
  • Featurecast
  • Fishmans
  • Flytones
  • Frank Klepacki
  • Fuzita Blender
  • Gorillaz
  • Grillo
  • GRRL
  • Guitar Vader
  • Henning
  • Hideki Naganuma
  • Hi-Posi
  • Idol Taxi
  • Ishanna
  • Ivan Makvel
  • JAEL
  • Jamphibious
  • JCPORTALS (ClascyJitto)
  • Jonny Tobin
  • Jurassic 5
  • Kahimi Karie
  • Kenichi Tokoi
  • Khadija
  • kidkanevil
  • KiloWatts
  • Klaus Veen
  • Knxwledge
  • Koolade
  • LaB Life
  • Lamp
  • Lee Funksta
  • Lefty
  • Leopard DaVinci & Louis 707
  • Les 5-4-3-2-1
  • luce
  • Lunatic Calm
  • Manfield
  • Marian Tone
  • Mariko Nanba
  • Mix Master Mike
  • Mofak
  • Momus
  • MrMediamanx
  • Naofumi Hataya
  • Nerreave
  • O.B. One
  • Olli
  • Otis McDonald
  • Pitch Controller Mitch
  • Pixelord
  • Pizzicato Five
  • Plus-Tech Squeeze Box
  • Pomrad
  • Porter Robinson
  • Professional Murder Music
  • Qypthone
  • Rebiere
  • Reps
  • Reso
  • Richard Jacques
  • Rob Zombie
  • Ronan de Castel ("Mr. Sauceman")
  • Rotten Apple
  • Russell Simins
  • Sashko Naganuma
  • Saturn!
  • Scapegoat Wax
  • Sebastian Knight
  • Semi Detached
  • Serani Poji
  • she (Electronic musician)
  • Shuvel
  • SiIvaGunner Sound Team
  • Sivey
  • SkyBlew
  • soia
  • Soul Supreme
  • Sven Atterton
  • Swami Sound
  • Takako Minekawa
  • Takeharu Ishimoto
  • Temu (Electronic musician)
  • The Offspring
  • The Prunes
  • The Sleepers RecordZ
  • The Wiseguys
  • Tomoya Ohtani
  • Tony Grayson
  • Toronto
  • Towa Tei
  • Trian Kayhatu
  • Tryezz
  • VeraFX
  • ViRiX Dreamcore
  • wev
  • Yukari Fresh
  • zeroSCAR